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photo © JAT/J. Olczyk

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2005

If you’re looking for some choice Christmas fun for the family then take a look at A CHRISTMOOSE CAROL. Ninety minutes (or there abouts) of antlered antics for all ages as only family entertainment specialists SamFilm know how!

There’s young Bertil, sitting in the lounge, minding his own business when a fully grown moose (or elk, same difference!) crashes through the roof and lands right in front of him! Not only is it a fully-grown Alces alces, a member of the Cervidae family of the order of artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), but one that can talk and fly!

Answering to the name of Mr. Moose, our animated hero claims he was on a test flight with Santa when he lost control of the sleigh and crashed. Young Bertil is ecstatic, even if he’s really long since stopped believing in Santa. He’s finally found a friend with whom he can get up to all sorts of crazy stunts, someone who can protect him from the other kids at school and, most importantly, understands him.

It would be a dream come true for Bertil were it not for the rude and shabby landlord, Mr. Pannecke, who, instead, sees his dream come true – the opportunity to hunt moose at last! And if that wasn’t enough, Father Christmas himself arrives, and he wants Mr. Moose back. What’s Bertil to do?

“What is so thrilling about this project,” says producer Ewa Karlstroem, “is that it’s a European Christmas movie, told from the German/North European perspective. We only get the American view here in cinemas and, the way children see it, their way of celebrating is different to ours.”

Director Ben Verbong knows what makes family entertainment tick. Following on from DAS SAMS (2001) and its sequel, SAMS IN GEFAHR (2003), he has turned his talents to the children’s bestseller by Andreas Steinhoefel.

“It’s not just the fact that A CHRISTMOOSE CAROL is a rollercoaster of a Christmas tale,” says Verbong, “it’s that at its core is a wonderful mixture of humor, fun and great emotion.”

And, as Steinhoeffel himself says, “What links my books together is the look behind the façade. I’m not interested in normality but rather in revealing what is hidden.”

Voicing our hoofed hero is Armin Rhode while Father Christmas is played by none other than one of the greats of European cinema, Mario Adorf. Among the other cast members, Anja Kling was last seen in the Michael “Bully” Herbig STAR TREK-spoof (T)RAUMSCHIFF SURPRISE - PERIOD 1 while Raban Bieling featured in SamFilm’s soccer hit, THE WILD SOCCER BUNCH and its sequel, THE WILD SOCCER BUNCH 2.

With German films gaining a reputation for the sophistication of their special effects, a complicated animatronic model that, says producer Andreas Ulmke-Smeaton, “is seamlessly integrated with the live actors in a totally life-like manner,” plays Mr. Moose.

Category Feature
Year of Production 2005
Director Ben Verbong
Screenplay Ben Verbong, Ulli Leonore Stephan, Andreas Bradler, Andreas Steinhoeffel
Cinematography Jan Fehse
Alexander Dittner
Benedikt Herforth
Animation Global Screen - a Telepool brand
Cast Sarah Beck, Raban Bieling, Anja Kling, Mario Adorf, Jürgen Tarrach
Producers Ewa Karlström, Michael Heukrodt, Wolf-Armin Lange, Andreas Ulmke-Smeaton
Production Company SamFilm GmbH
Format 35 mm, color
Shooting Dates Fuessen, Munich, Tannheim/Tirol, February - April 2005
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Giffoni 2006
Awards Bavarian Film Award 2005 (Best Family Film)
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, BKM, Cinetirol, Bayerischer BankenFonds
German Distributor Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany/Munich